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The Snowdrop

Brett Westwood relives programmes from the Living World archives. This episode from 2004, Brett travels to Somerset to explore the world of snowdrops with Christine Skelmesdale.

There are 19 species of the wild snowdrop in the world, all in the genus Galanthus. Wild snowdrops are found across much of Europe from Spain to the Caucasus , with Turkey being a hot spot for these 'milk flowers', but they are not found in Britain. What we think of as British wild snowdrops which herald the beginning of spring, are an introduced species or escapees from garden collections. Over the centuries gardeners have selected over 1000 distinct cultivars and that number is increasing every year. And so it takes a certain special kind of person to become a galanthophile, or a lover of snowdrops.

Brett Westwood relives programmes from the Living World archives and in this episode from 2004 Brett himself travels to Somerset to explore the fascinating world of snowdrops with one such galanthophile Christine Skelmesdale. They start by discussing the snowdrop cultivars in Christine's garden before moving on to 'Snowdrop Valley' (or the more correctly called Avill Valley) on Exmoor. Christine explains the origins of UK snowdrops as imports from abroad, and that far from being native, snowdrops are a naturalised alien, though wonderful, plant.

Producer Andrew Dawes.

Available now

22 minutes

Last on

Sun 4 Mar 2018 06:35


Natural Histories

Natural Histories

Nature that has had a profound impact on human culture and society across history.